The 31- year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and former UFC women’s strawweight champion will fill in for Taila Santos in the UFC Fight Night main event on February 18 in Las Vegas.
Andrade will face top prospect Erin Blanchfieldin a women’s flyweight contender bout.
Santos’ cornermen, including her husband, Pedro Barbosa, were denied visas multiple times, according to Santos’ manager Tiago Okamura. The team waited until a final denial Friday, Okamura said, and Santos decided to withdraw from the bout rather than compete without a corner.
ESPN has Andrade ranked No. 2 in the world at women’s flyweight. Blanchfield is unranked but could get a title shot with a win over Andrade.
Andrade (24-9) has won three straight. The Brazilian-born fighter who trains out of Las Vegas is coming off a dominant, unanimous-decision win over Lauren Murphy at UFC 283 last month. Andrade was the UFC women’s strawweight champion in 2019.
Blanchfield (10-1) has won seven straight, including her first four in the UFC. The New Jersey native is coming off a first-round submission win over Molly McCann at UFC 281 last November. Blanchfield, 23, was ranked No. 2 on ESPN‘s top 25 fighters under 25 years old for 2022.
Jessica Andradeis preparing a highly anticipated bout…
The 31-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist, a former UFC women’s strawweight champion, and Lauren Murphy – two of the top women’s flyweight fighters in the world – will meet in Brazil.
Andrade and Murphy has agreed to fight at UFC 283 on January 21 in Rio de Janeiro.
Andrade is ranked No. 9 on ESPN‘s pound-for-pound women’s MMA list. At flyweight, Andrade is ranked No. 3 and Murphy is No. 4.
Andrade (23-9) has won two straight and three of four with the only loss in that stretch coming to flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.
The Brazilian-born fighter held the UFC women’s strawweight title in 2019. Andrade is the only woman in UFC history to win fights in three different weight classes.
Murphy (16-5) is coming off a unanimous decision win over former women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate in July. The Alaska-born fighter, who lives in Texas, has won six of her past seven fights with the only loss during that stretch coming in a title fight against Shevchenko. Murphy, 39, is 7-3 since starting her UFC run with two straight losses.
Cynthia Calvillo could be returning to the Octagon in the near future…
The UFC is close to finalizing a flyweight fight between the 33-year-old Latina mixed martial artist and Katlyn Chookagianfor UFC 255 later this month, according to ESPN sources.
Contracts haven’t been signed yet, but the bout will take place on November 21 in Las Vegas once it’s official.
It’s good timing for the 125-pound contender fight, as the UFC 255 pay-per-view event features flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko defending her title against Jennifer Maia in the co-main event.
Calvillo (9-1-1) catapulted herself into flyweight title contention with a five-round decision over former title challenger Jessica Eye in June. That was Calvillo’s flyweight debut in the UFC. She accumulated a 5-1-1 record as a strawweight prior to the move up in weight in June.
Calvillo was scheduled to face Lauren Murphylast month, but was forced to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Chookagian (14-4) is coming off a knockout loss to former strawweight champion Jessica Andradeon October 17 in Abu Dhabi. Despite the loss, Chookagian is still the No. 2-ranked flyweight in the world per the UFC rankings, behind No. 1-ranked Andrade.
The 31-year-old Chookagian fought Shevchenko for the title in February, and came up short via third-round TKO. The fight against Calvillo will mark her fourth appearance in 2020.